AVATARTS FOR THE CONCEPT OF CULTURE AS THE ESSENCE OF DEVELOPMENT
Avatares para el concepto de cultura como la esencia del desarrollo
M. Sc. Silvio Alejandro Alcívar-Molina. Universidad Técnica de Manabí, Ecuador.
Dra. C. Odalis Margarita Gómez-Gómez. Profesora Titular, Universidad de Granma, Cuba,
Recibido: 26/04/2018 – Aceptado: 24/05/2018
In this thought line, the Cultural Studies have contributed to the analysis of the paper of the
culture in the development of our societies. That which means to locate the cultural dimension of
the development in a system of social relationships that transcends the economic and political
environments. It is a critical perspective of the culture like indispensable requirement then for the
solution of problems corresponding to the environment of the economy and of the politics. In that
way, the culture is view like generating of economic resources as long as the production and the
cultural consumption participate in the social development. And with it the idea of well-being
becomes the support of cultural processes based on the human being dignificación.
Key words: culture, development, cultural management.
En esta línea de pensamiento, los Estudios Culturales han contribuido al análisis del papel de la
cultura en el desarrollo de nuestras sociedades. Eso significa ubicar la dimensión cultural del
desarrollo en un sistema de relaciones sociales que trasciende los entornos económicos y
políticos. Es una perspectiva crítica de la cultura como requisito indispensable entonces para la
solución de problemas correspondientes al entorno de la economía y de la política. De esa
forma, la cultura se ve como generadora de recursos económicos siempre que la producción y
el consumo cultural participen en el desarrollo social. Y con ello la idea de bienestar se
convierte en el soporte de procesos culturales basados en la dignificación del ser humano.
The cultural conception of development places us necessarily in the link between culture and
development. Culture from this perspective is an instrument of knowledge and social praxis,
which as a process forms the social subject as a reflective critical receiver, creator and
transformer of its socio-cultural reality, in contexts that, by politics, fully form its citizens,
contributing to its development personological and sociocultural. From the presence of culture
as a basis for development emerge contradictions that are not based on solid epistemological
arguments, based on different approaches "not only does it not figure in the priorities of the
political agendas, but it does not occur in the consciousness of the populations that they still
consider culture as a decorative element or a superfluous expense "(Olmos, 2004) and on the
other hand it is the essence culture of development as a creative, cognitive and social process,
as a result of the history of humanity that has generated in its to become cultural products in
The idea of culture as a resource seen from the prism of the socio-historical conditions of
cultural activity allows us to evaluate each practice in its social resizing. In this perspective,
Yúdice (2006) observes the notion of culture in its use as a need within the framework of social
development for the solution of problems corresponding to the field of economics and politics in
the global era.
Culture, understood as the long and complex process of creation, production and reproduction
of human activity, with the aim of satisfying their needs, whose experiences are treasured and
transmitted by generational continuity, is at the same time the platform, where they develop the
different historical epochs, with their peculiarities of material and spiritual character. Culture
structures in its dialectical unity, the material and the spiritual, which is distinctive to each
concrete historical period.
The essential nucleus of culture is in education, in any of its historical forms, insofar as it allows
men and women, from the earliest ages, to assimilate and assume the basic elements of the
culture in which they were born, that Cultural appropriation is the basis and tool for their vital
learning, and even prepares their transition from mere assimilators of culture to producers of
cultures, active creators of their own life, in contributors and transmitters of personal, group,
86 culture and education, although they are not identical, do belong to the same
Any social revolution that claims to be true in its scope and purposes, must necessarily consider
among its main factors of change, profound transformations in education and culture. These
changes must be of such a nature, that they constitute revolutions, within the revolution.
After the Second World War (1945), and specifically from the establishment of the Organization
for Education, Science and Culture of the United Nations (UNESCO), the development category
acquires relevance in the scientific community.
Culture, as a sociological category, has been investigated by different authors, which reveal the
relationship of different conceptions of culture as the essence of development. Although there
are differences in the models that contribute to the understanding of this category; The value of
culture as a space for individual growth is seen as a common aspect, as a result of the active
and participative development of the subject in his relationship with others, in a way that
constitutes a necessary category to assess the progress and results of the social subject, of
which valuable qualities and values linked to the development of society are required.
Considered culture as a resource, it leads to a type of management, which is neither
characteristic of the definitions of high culture nor of everyday culture in its anthropological
sense. In this context, cultural management as a process has always existed, whether based on
an elitist conception of culture (reduced to art and literature), or a broader one such as that
formulated by UNESCO (1982) when considering it as the "Set of the distinctive, spiritual and
material, intellectual and emotional features that characterize a society or a social group" so
"encompasses, in addition to the arts and letters, ways of life, fundamental rights to human
beings, value systems, traditions and beliefs. " In its axiological sense, somehow explicit or
implicit, conscious or not, we act to impose the world of meanings that corresponds to the mode
of production that is dominant in society.
The social, the economic, the political intervene in the cultural process, and overlap to produce
senses, from processes of symbolic elaboration that in turn will produce, in a concrete way, the
conceptions of the world and the subsequent conditions of life of the different individuals and
social groups. (Zavarce, 2010: 285)
87 (...) "cultural action has become a resource at the service of different social and political
movements, from which transformations can be managed to improve situations such as
violence, disintegration in different communities as a result of displacement by wars , famine,
search for job opportunities, etc. "(Zavarse, 2010: 284)
The fact that culture is found through a vital network of discourses that impacts the expectations
of the recipient, contributing to their formation of values with development to the sociocultural
dynamic, acquiring meaning and meaning, enhancing the referential value of culture in
However, it happens that "it is very common that a concept of culture similar to that of UNESCO
is stated on the platforms but that, in practice, everything goes to arts and shows". (Olmos 2008:
59), in correspondence with the articulation of globalizing references present in societies. In this
regard, it is emphasized that "the role of culture and art in the development of our societies is
today posed, on the one hand, as a need of an ideological nature, and on the other, as a
requirement of the development of relationships social production; that is, as a requirement of
economic development itself "(Hart, 1986: 52). Here, it is clarified that culture as a resource is
much more than a commodity, since it constitutes the axis of a new epistemic framework where
ideology and a good part of what Foucault called a disciplinary society (for example, the
inculcation of norms in institutions such as education, medicine, psychiatry, etc.) are absorbed
within an economic or ecological rationality, so that in the culture (and in its results)
management, conservation, access, distribution and investment have priority. (Yúdice, 2002)
Hence, the role of culture has expanded unprecedentedly to the political and economic sphere,
while conventional notions of culture have been considerably emptied. Instead of focusing on
the content of culture-this is the model of honor or distinction or hierarchy of classes offered in
its traditional meanings, or its more recent anthropologization as an integral lifestyle (Williams),
according to which it is recognized that the culture of each one has value-it may be more
convenient to address the issue of culture, in our time, characterized by rapid globalization,
considering it as a resource.
In this sense, there is a growing use of culture as an instrument for both sociopolitical and
economic improvement, that is, for progressive participation in this era marked by declining
political commitments, conflicting about citizenship (Young, 2000).
In this scenario, the most openly productive aspects of the cultural studies project will be valued
88 dissociation too often practiced between culture and society . For him, culture designates an
entire way of life (the common meanings) and designates the arts and knowledge (essential
processes of discovery and creative effort). "Culture" is not a practice; nor is it simply the
descriptive sum of the "habits and customs" of societies, as it tends to become in certain types
of anthropology. It is imbricated with all social practices, and is the sum of its interrelations. This
solves the question of what is studied and how, "culture" becomes all those patterns of
organization, those characteristic forms of human energy that can be detected revealing - "in
unexpected identities and correspondences", as well as in "discontinuities of unforeseen type"
in, or under, all social practices.
The idea of resistance is found in Latin America where Cultural Studies has been developed by
NéstorGarcíaCanclini. Both in the search for the specificity of Latin American cultural studies to
differentiate them from the same current in Anglo-Saxon countries make culture itself a political
issue, granting a prominent role to new movements in the formation of popular culture. They are
interested in the cultural significance of symbolism and identity, above the control of the
productive forces, where the articulation of the dialectical triad of interpretation, explanation and
understanding are essential.
For the Cuban ethnographer Fernando Ortiz "Culture is like cultivation, work, cultivation, sowing
for harvest and fruit ... it is something structural ... it is a mechanism of integral cooperation ... it
is a system of instruments, habits, desires, ideas and institutions by means of which each
human group tries to adjust to its environment .... And to improve your satisfaction of your
personal needs ... always growing. Culture is not luxury, but a necessity. It is not a
contemplation but an energy ... It is not a passivist neutrality but an active militancy ... It is not a
wonted quiet that is enjoyed but a restlessness that must be satisfied without ceasing. "
At present, three dimensions of the word "culture" (the anthropological-social, the
ideological-aesthetic, the political-institutional) are valued, which can be mixed in a complementary manner
or alternatively polemically contrasted in the analysis of how the words are expressed. symbolic
imaginaries, according to the way in which these analyzes prefer to place the accent, either in
the role of the ethos that fixes the social and racial identities (heritage, traditions, folklore, etc.),
or in the force of alterity-alteration of the ruptures of art and literature; whether in the
mechanisms of reproduction of the field laws of university culture, or in the lines of flight that
89 globalizing logic as mediatization in the folds of opaque resistance that disuniforman the
grammar of the market with new poetics of subjectivity (GarcíaCanclini, 1987).
These diverse, and often contrary, accents that cross the series "culture", not only unfold in the
exteriority of the social, but also cross the field of theories and cultural studies that are
responsible for analyzing their movements and transformations under the impact of complex
mutations. (Richard, 2005 cited in Mato, 2001)
On the other hand, the significance of culture acquires, from its axiological intention, a
preponderant role in the political agendas of the Nation States and in the programs of
international organizations such as UNESCO, IDB and the World Bank. In this scenario, it is
recurrent to question: what role does culture play in development? And there is remarkable
evidence to reduce culture to a simple catalyst of economic 'advance' as it is assumed as a
means that can favor or hinder an end. In such a way that the culture from this conception, is
synonymous of dispensable object for the development.
Regarding the relationship between culture and development, thought was transformed in 1970
when UNESCO organized the First World Conference on Cultural Policies with the aim of
promoting a different model of development and advancing, in theoretical terms, what was called
the cultural dimension of the same. This idea has a wrong starting point since it conceives the
terms culture and development as separate areas when they are indissoluble unity. This gap,
which acquires different aspects in the two positions analyzed, also implies a reductionism in the
concept of culture. In the first case, because it is understood as an instrument for development
as economic growth.In the second, because when speaking of "cultural aspects", it is not taken
into account that both development and economy are elements of the culture of a community. It
is then a question of ceasing to assign an instrumental role to culture and to attribute to it a
constitutive, constructive and creative one. Only in this way can we account for development in
human terms, that is, in the multidimensionality of social realization.
However, the aforementioned has not yet recognized the process of spiritual production as
awareness, which is important to define the active role of the social subject. It is necessary to
assess the concept of social production, according to Marxist referents, which represents a living
human activity, a work process that takes place as a result of the joint participation of the
physical and spiritual forces of men. (Tolstyj, 1989) shares this idea, explains social production
90 consciousness also participates. The author has defined spiritual production as "... the
production of consciousness in a certain social form, or more exactly, the production of the
social form of consciousness". Tolstyj (p122: 1989).
Social production allows us to analyze the integrity of spiritual production within the structure of
social production, since Marx and Engels (p21: 1979) stated that "Spiritual production is the
production of consciousness as manifested in the language of politics, laws, morals and religion,
metaphysics, etc., of a people. "
The concept of spiritual production has been treated by other specialists, G. Nesterenko (1978),
Fabelo. Corso (2012), is a concept structured by its theoretical-methodological value in the
treatment of the relations between the social being and the social conscience, taking into
account the intersubjectivity in the character of the production of knowledge and knowledge.
This is a punctual concept for cultural processes. In a determined historical - concrete situation,
each human being thinks in correspondence with the thought that prevails in society,
subordinating the course of his ideas, to the rules, norms and socially established principles;
there it is present as the independent consciousness, which is proper to each individual,
however, in its development, it acquires an independent form of its individual existence.
The process of spiritual production is aimed at achieving a result, spiritual production is able to
play a mediating role in understanding that interaction between social being and social
consciousness, not only as mere or simple ideological reflection, which can also and it must be
assumed, but from the economic activity, socio - class and political - organizational, intellectual,
cultural, among others. Spiritual production is the sustenance of the culture acquired by the
social subject in its evolution. The transcendental thing is to also perceive culture as the
production of meanings, culture as the meaning of objects, phenomena and processes of social
reality for the human being.
Therefore, we maintain that the development model, as a constituent part of a culture, is the
future project that a community constructs for itself. In the culture are the essential elements that
give foundation and meaning to individuals, which allow them a continuity through time in the
process of recreating themselves and collectively, based on the affirmation and innovation of
their own worldview transmitted and transformed by their ancestors from generation to
generation, through tangible and intangible elements with which they found the route to face or
91 The starting point that emerges from the conception that culture should not be seen only as a
result or as a product, but as part of a process that is simultaneously individual, family,
community. Today, in various international cultural policy forums, a conception of culture is
affirmed and consolidated, placing it as an essential dimension of development and whose
universal principle is the promotion of cultural rights as a fundamental segment of human rights,
an essential element of new forms of relationships between individuals and communities. The
cultural dimension is not isolated, it is intertwined with other spheres or dimensions of
development in which the economic, the social and the territorial interact.
When the term "development" is associated with the human, individual and / or social
dimension, and is problematized with respect to a group of human beings, at least two different
conceptions of that term emerge: according to the first, development is a process of economic
growth, a rapid and sustained expansion of production, productivity and per capita income
(some qualify this definition by insisting on a wide distribution of the benefits of such growth).
According to the second, elaborated and promoted by the United Nations Development Program
(UNDP, 2001) and by other organizations of the United Nations (UN), such as the United
Nations Organization for Science, Education and Culture (UNESCO) development is conceived
as a process that increases the effective freedom of those who benefit from it to carry out any
activity to which they attribute value. This last idea is linked to a broad, non-economic vision of
development, and is known as human development.
A characteristic of culture is its dynamic nature that is recreated between tradition and
modernity. Culture is not static or invariable, it is dialectical, it requires exchange to remain
within the global concert of cultures that interact globally; thus, each culture is strengthened,
acquires validity, is updated in an incessant search for new ways of creating and innovating.
Therefore, it is a priority to recognize and train the human resources of each community to
strengthen citizen participation in decision-making that affects their lives and defines their future.
Culture generates models of coexistence that will allow us to exist and endure as a collective.
Culture must be understood in a broad way, as a concept of maximum generality: as a principle
of the ends themselves and not as a means to reach one or the other end. Only by taking into
account this double role of culture can we begin to understand development as part of a social
process. From this perspective, all forms of development are determined by cultural factors. It
does not make sense to insist on the dichotomy when establishing the "relationship between
92 the culture of a community. Culture is the goal and objective of development understood as the
fulfillment of human existence in all its forms and in all its fullness. The development from the
dimension of the cultural, is contribution to enrich the very concept of quality of life and human
Indeed, in all fields of development we see how the importance of culture is now recognized.
Among them, in relation to comparative advantages in the international market, equity, social
capital, educational levels and training; to consolidate the forms of cooperation of traditional or
new cultures for development projects, especially in regional frameworks; and to encourage
linguistic and cultural pluralism in new telecommunications and electronic networks.
In these circumstances, the cultural dimension strengthens its role as a synthesis of the best
human virtues and increasingly assumes the role of conditioning the other dimensions of
development and directly influences the definition of norms and values that guide and organize
the evolution of it.
Culture as the essence of development is support for the integral personological development
of the social subject, which contributes to the transformation of different economic and social
scenarios. Culture as a core function in development dignifies the human being.
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